Theory Guys Willing to Educate Me? (Melodic Hardcore / Post-Hardcore)

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by Emperor Guillotine, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Emperor Guillotine

    Emperor Guillotine The Almighty Ruler

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    Alright, so recently I have been undergoing another shift in expanding my music writing into another genre; and I have been feeling incredibly inspired by (rather trending) "inspirational" melodic hardcore and post-hardcore bands that have a positive message in their music. Some examples would be: Being As An Ocean, Capsize, Liferuiner, Hotel Books, Defeater, Silent Planet (who are more metalcore), etc.

    I just wanted to see if any of you theory whizzes would be willing to help educate me and explain to me what exactly is going on in this song that I'm attaching as an example. It might not be the best example, but this playthrough shows the sound that I am going for: melodic and dissonant at times, very "full" sounding chords, two guitars doing two different things, etc. And what do I need to understand and add/change in my writing process to begin working towards achieving this sound?



    Thanks in advance for anyone who contributes to this thread.
     
  2. AugmentedFourth

    AugmentedFourth X:1 K:C [c^f]|

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    The video you embedded is good. To me it seems to capture a good bit of the uh—how do I say this—clichés of modern post-hardcore. And the video is instructional. In case you didn't already transcribe what he's playing at the beginning, here it is:

    Code:
                                
    D||-------------------|--------------------|
    A||--6----------------|---8----------------|
    F||--9----------------|--10----------------|
    C||--0----------------|---0----------------|
    G||--8----------------|--10----------------|
    C||--8----------------|--10----------------|
    
       
    -------------------|----------------------||
    --6----------------|--10--------10--------||
    --9----------------|--12--------12--------||
    --0----------------|---0---------0--------||
    --8----------------|--12--------12--------||
    --7----------------|--12--------10--------||
    
    So, it's pretty clearly based around the key of Eb major. It sounds like it's ambiguously also in Ab and in Cm, which makes sense since those are the subdominant and relative minor, respectively. Cm/Eb is common for dropped C tuning, obviously.

    This ambiguity isn't surprising. On a closer look, it's basically just in Eb with a focus on Ab ("modal" in the Ab Lydian mode). For now, here's what this chord progression looks like, analysed for each tonal center:

    Code:
        | Ab(add#4) | Bbsub2sub4 | Ebmaj13/G | Csub4, G-11/Bb :||
    
    Eb: | IV        | V          | I         | vi,    iii (V) :||
    Ab: | I         | II (ii)    | V         | iii,   vii     :||
    (Lydian)
    
    In Eb, it's pretty standard. IV - V - I is one of the most common progressions in all of western music. Then it goes to vi, which is not much of a change. Listen and you can tell that that Csub4 chord doesn't sound much different from the chord before it. That's because the I is basically a rootless vi chord. It's just the relative minor. You hear that exploited in lots of music with "deceptive" cadences (V - vi) in which it sounds like you're going to the I but it's the vi instead.

    The G-11/Bb just leads it back to the Ab chord. The C -> Bb -> Ab is very strong bass note movement. And the G-11 -> Abmaj is an expected cadence if you were to write in modal Lydian. (Similar to vii° -> I in a vanilla major key but less crunchy.)

    In Ab it's just a 2 -> 5 -> [passing chord because we want to delay resolution and not just go back to the 1] -> 7 -> 1.

    It helps that that passing chord is kind of ambiguously voiced and that the V chord doesn't have a dominant quality, per se. Since we are in Lydian, the V is a Δ7 chord.

    Also note the C note that drones throughout.

    Basically, just figure out some chord voicings that have these kind of weird, crunchy or ambiguous qualities (best achieved through open notes, small intervals in the voicing, perfect intervals in the voicing, substitutions like 4's and 2's, etc.) Use those to create sappy chord progressions, and then add rock-style drums with heavy use of kick pedal and relatively high levels of syncopation... buildups... yelled vocals... add slammin' riffs as necessary.
     
  3. Emperor Guillotine

    Emperor Guillotine The Almighty Ruler

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    Absolutely spot-on description, AugmentedFourth. Thanks for taking the time to help me out and break all that down. Makes so much sense going back and playing it and making the theoretical connections in my head now.

    ^ I've been writing a song the past few days, and this pretty much summed everything up. Haha! Definitely got the sound I've been shooting for.
     

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